Monday, 25 February 2013

Rant II

[Rather than reply to the comments replying to the previous rant, thought it better to do a new post.]

The fan/academic relationship is one that I find particularly interesting and problematic. It often seems to me that for the fan empirical data counts more, for the academic theory. I feel that both have their place and can be equally valuable, but it's the accompanying territorial pissings and frequent lack of connection.

In retrospect, the Inglorious Basterds essays were probably especially likely to get me going, simply because a book on that film is such an obvious and lazy thing to do. Or it's an exploitative book, on a mock exploitation movie that I was suckered into getting and which then made me feel exploited?

A study of Eurowar films with chapters on, say, Castellari and Lenzi's contributions just wouldn't have the brand recognition.

It's like those collections on [insert name of contemporary TV series/film] and Philosophy where you sense what basically amounts to a circle jerk between the parties involved. There's no organic relationship, just a text that's ready made for commentary.

An obvious example would be Dr Who: Who gave a fuck about that programme during its 1980s death-throes? But now that it's been rebooted and given the official seal of approval by the cultural taste-makers? Or, there's a big difference between bringing out queer subtexts planted by Russell T. Davies compared to looking at John Nathan Turner era Who and trying to discern if his homosexuality might likewise be found in the programme.


Mark said...

Ha, loving the Who analogy. I was in my teens in the 90s when the show was off air and I felt like the only fan around. I bought the VHS releases, watched the rpts on Uk Gold, read the Target novels, The New Adventures and The Missing Adventures, subscribed to DWM and of course held fond memories of my childhood viewing and the hope that one day the show would return. Imagine how utterly surprised and a little spiteful I felt upon RTD's reboot when virtually everyone raved about it, tons of merch came out and, perhaps more infuriating to the then 20 something me, young girls were into it. Where were these teen girls into it in the 90s I bitterly wailed? haha

Nigel Maskell said...

I ve been giving this some thought Keith and I am not certain that empirical data counts more for fans really- for collectors yes. As an example contrast say Record Collector (heavy on data) with say Melody Maker which would just wax poetic about their single of the week. For fans it seems that the biggie is biography, gossip, anecdote and so on rules- that all those biographies in WH Smith written with the fan in mind.

I do understand where you are coming from when you mention the divide between fan community and theory. But I am sure film theory mostly appeals to those into film theory. But since the film student could also be a film fan and a film fan will also read theory perhaps there is no divide as such.

What I am not so fussy on though is where I pick up a book and the cover is clearly designed with populism in mind and it reads like a text book. In part I could blame waterstones who maybe should move some of these books across one shelf from the film section to the film studies section.